MSc Forensic Science

The School of Chemistry at Lincoln aims to bring together research active academic staff and students in a vibrant research-driven environment to develop new chemical innovation and chemists for the future.

The Course

This scientifically rigorous Master’s programme is designed to provide extensive training in the latest techniques being employed in forensic science laboratories around the world.

At Lincoln, you will be taught by experienced academics and practitioners with specialist expertise in analytical and organic chemistry, pharmacy, entomology, anthropology and molecular biology. You will be encouraged to engage in the interdisciplinary research culture at the University of Lincoln and to work alongside academics who are striving to advance forensic science techniques.

Teaching incorporates forensic principles, operating within the context of legal considerations, the role of the expert witness and presentation of evidence. You will have the opportunity to learn about the processes involved in providing impartial evidence in criminal investigations, from crime scenes to laboratory and, finally, to the courtroom.

Research in the School is organised around six main themes, although collaboration and cross-disciplinary research between these groups occurs at all levels:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Materials
  • Organic Synthesis.
Contact Hours and Independent Study

Students on this course should typically expect 350 hours of contact time over the duration of the programme. The amount of contact time will vary depending on the various module option choices chosen.

Postgraduate study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to at least spend two - three hours in independent study.

The composition and delivery for the course breaks down differently for each module and may include lectures, seminars, workshops, independent study, laboratory practicals, research and one-to-one learning.

Advanced Forensic Toxicology (Option)
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Advanced Forensic Toxicology (Option)

In this module students have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the fate of toxins within the human body and the analysis of biological specimens.

Laboratory work will be based upon case work and the development of new methods providing a realistic experience of the role of the forensic toxicologist in legal cases. Use of external practitioners, laboratory visits, and specialist equipment aim to further add to this experience and strengthen the opportunity for employment in this highly competitive field.

Laboratory problems will be less directed and aim to further develop skills in teamwork and independent learning. Students are also expected to develop skills in interpretation of results and presentation in court, as expected for a professional forensic toxicologist within the present legal system. New method development will be backed up by consideration of research developments across all aspects of the field.

Analytical Data Analysis (Core)
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Analytical Data Analysis (Core)

This module aims to develop students' knowledge of the value of statistical data in analytical science and how this data can be used to design experiments alongside extracting meaning from data acquired from analytical experiments. The module will also aim to provide knowledge of statistical software and how to best utilise it to achieve reliable and meaningful results and their presentation in a wide range of professional contexts.

Atomic and Molecular Methods of Analysis (Option)
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Atomic and Molecular Methods of Analysis (Option)

This module aims to provide specialist knowledge in the principles of atomic and molecular spectroscopy, instrumental fundamentals, design of experiments and sample preparation. Including case studies related to applications in specialist areas and recent advances.

The specialist knowledge is reinforced by the ‘hands-on’ practical component and will include use of the research instrumentation for collecting and analysing data, troubleshooting and method development/enhancement. The practical sessions will also involve following written experimental protocols, working in a small groups, and working to deadlines.

Bioanalytical Methods and Sensor Technologies (Option)
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Bioanalytical Methods and Sensor Technologies (Option)

This interdisciplinary module introduces the biology, physics, and chemistry behind some the most common and emerging sensors used in analytical science and their mode of action. The special challenges of bioanalytical methods provides a modern context for specific sensor development and case studies will be presented from forensic, pharmaceutical, and healthcare contexts for development of sensors.

Chromatography and Mass Spectrometric Methods (Option)
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Chromatography and Mass Spectrometric Methods (Option)

This module is designed to develop specialist knowledge in the principles of separation science and hyphenated methods of analysis, principally mass spectrometry. The programme introduces instrumental fundamentals, design of experiments, sample preparation and derivatisation. Including case studies related to applications in specialist areas and recent advances.

Specialist knowledge is reinforced by the ‘hands-on’ practical component and includes use of the research instrumentation for collecting and analysing data, troubleshooting, method development/enhancement. The practical sessions involve following written experimental protocols, working in a small group, and working to deadlines.

Crime Scene to Court (Core)
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Crime Scene to Court (Core)

In this module students can develop their understanding of the role and responsibilities of the crime scene manager and crime scene co-ordinator in the investigation of complex crime scenes, including engagement with key specialists and agencies. Within this context, students can develop a critical understanding of, and apply, a holistic approach to crime scene processing and forensic strategy formulation. Students have the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and improve on future performance by analysing their experiences and using reflective learning techniques. The module also covers best practice in presenting evidence in documentary, visual and oral forms including mock-courts.

Current Approaches in Forensic Bioscience (Option)
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Current Approaches in Forensic Bioscience (Option)

This module will explore and analyse four key themes where methods in the biosciences are applied to forensic questions or where forensic approaches are applied to bioscience.

Fire and Explosions (Option)
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Fire and Explosions (Option)

Students have the opportunity to develop knowledge in the physics and chemistry of fire and explosions, which is then used to understand and interpret fire and explosion scenes. Case studies, fieldwork and laboratory work will provide the contexts for the knowledge delivered in lectures and workshops. Laboratory skills can be further developed from modules covered earlier in the course and emphasis will be placed on students working on professionally focused group and individual problems.

The professional and research literature will be a major information source that will inform module content and provide the context of the role of forensic scientists in fire and explosion investigation within the framework of the present legal system.

Method Development and Validation (Core)
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Method Development and Validation (Core)

This module comprises two main components:

The first aims to develop fundamental knowledge concerning strategies for sampling, data analysis, reporting, quality assurance and quality control, numerical and IT skills, and safety in relation to analytical science.

The second will provide the general introductory principles and a theoretical understanding of a range of instrumental analytical techniques and their applications. The module aims to provide the background knowledge needed for an understanding of the various principles discussed in greater detail in other modules.

Research Project (Core)
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Research Project (Core)

This module provides students with opportunity to apply chemical knowledge and laboratory skills to an extended practical research study. This is designed to further develop professional skills including the use of online literature and chemical data searching, the ability to critically review relevant published literature, and written and oral presentation of research activities.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

The grading system for modules and award will follow the standard regulations for postgraduate taught degrees. The pass mark for modules is 50% or above and the distinction mark is 70% or above.

The module mark will be awarded based on different assessment methods: coursework, examinations, presentations, practical sessions or work contributions to the module. Details will be provided a module handbook given to students at the beginning of the academic year.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to you promptly – usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400

(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction )**

International £16,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £89 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A Postgraduate Master's Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,906 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification. The amount available will depend on the start date of your course.

- £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
- £10,609, if your course starts between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

First or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Students holding a lower second class degree may be eligible subject to interview.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. . These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Jose Gonzalez Rodriguez

Dr Jose Gonzalez Rodriguez

Programme Leader

Jose holds degrees in both Chemistry and Biochemistry and a Master's degree in Environmental Sciences. His PhD is in Analytical Chemistry. He has published 49 publications and 36 communications to congresses. He has also acted as referee for the Research Councils of the UK, Portugal and Luxembourg. His subject specialisms include Analytical and Forensic Chemistry, Sensors and Environmental Chemistry and Molecular Imprinted Polymers.


Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

This programme aims to prepare students for a career in forensic science. The specialist skills and technical knowledge that students have the opportunity to acquire may be transferable to roles in laboratory research, law enforcement, customs and excise and investigatory agencies in the private sector. This programme can be excellent preparation for advanced study at doctoral level.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students have access to the University’s Joseph Banks Laboratories and Science Building, which offer specialist laboratory and teaching spaces. High-specification equipment is available including nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, chromatography, electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction.

Students can study and research in the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which provides more than 250,000 printed books and approximately 400,000 electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.